Kick Axe is the name of a new metal band out of Canada. Their debut LP "VICES", produced by Spencer Proffer (Quiet Riot) is a powerful sign of great things to come. I talked to Kick Axe's drummer Brian Gillstrom backstage at the recent concert date in San Francisco with Judas Priest.
How did the band get together?
We're all from the same neighborhood. We went to the same elementary school, except George, who is from Milwaukee. We played clubs for seven, or eight years, before CBS signed us. After we got the deal, we sent tapes to producers and that's how we came across Spencer. We recorded album down in Hollywood in his studio. We had more than fifty songs written for the LP!
Are you aware that the group Waysted has the same title for their debut album?
I did see that, but not until our album came out. You know, it's just a name and I think, we are talking about two different things, too.
The album reminds me a lot of the style used during the seventies. Are your influences from this era?
Well, our influences go back to Led Zeppelin times, you know, Deep Purple and Uriah Heep, that is what we were brought up on. In a matter, yes we were, but by these british bands. We like Priest, too. Every night we go out to see their show.
Let's talk about the album cover.
The painting was done especially for the LP by Dario Campanile with the logo and all. It's now a part of Spencer's private collection. It is some creature of sort, nobody knows who, from another planet. Leave it to your imagination. If there is an explanation to everything, it's no fun!
The album is one of the best produced LPs out. Don't you think that there is a loss of that raw rock'n'roll energy?
Not at all! We're quite happy with it. If you come see us live, the harmonies and all that are there! We do the album live, the way it is. Every one sings on stage, so we don't loose anything at all. The album was done for a headphone mix. There is a lot going on, and you can really hear it by headphones. Spencer did a great job. But this was just a beginning. There is a lot of work ahead of us now. The van is our home now.
What's your home after the tour?
Nowhere actually. We're constantly on the road working. We're homeless, living in motels.
What do you like to write about?
Well, we don't like to write about downer type things. We don't dwell on thing of the past. We like to stay on top, just write songs to make you feel happy. Why talk about the second world war!! We write songs that are melodic metal with a lot of hooks and harmonies, but are heavy, too. Songs that appeal to the masses, bangers, ladies and so on. We all write locked in together.
So where is the Slade cover tune? Has Spencer suggested one as he did with Quiet Riot?
No. He thought that our tunes were strong. We even had too many and had to pick. We did record one cover, a Humble Pie tune for the UP THE CREEK soundtrack. We do it live once in a while, too.
What about a single or a video? "Dreaming about you" seems to be getting a lot of airplay.
Wow! Are you serious? That's excellent! No, it is not a single. We don't have one yet. We'd like to do a couple singles and at least three videos for the album. We'll see.